LAU, four-time winners of Best Group in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, play a sold-out gig at Pocklington Arts Centre tomorrow (Tuesday).

Kris Drever, vocals and guitar, Aidan O’Rourke, fiddle, and Martin Green, accordion, Wurlitzer, keys and post-rock electronics, will be previewing their typically adventurous new album, Midnight And Closedown, set for release on February 8 next year on Reveal Records.

After 12 years of recording together, their fifth studio record is “closer to late-period Beatles than to the traditional tunes and ballads of their 2007 debut, Lightweights And Gentlemen”.

Next year’s album, their first since 2015’s The Bell That Never Rang, is Lau’s first collaboration with John Parish, a producer feted for his work with P.J Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse, This Is The Kit, Aldous Harding, Rokia Traore, M. Ward and Giant Sand.

“Lau. Cool band. Don’t sound like anybody else,” said Parish in October. “I could describe the instrumentation: treated fiddle, guitar and rich baritone voice, an electronic ship in a bottle. A beautiful set of songs and instrumentals. In touch with their roots but not bound by them.”

“We hadn’t ever met before, but through a Bristol connection – we had mutual friends – we made contact and I’ve loved many of the albums he’s made,” says Martin Green.

“He thinks about how bands come across best and chooses ways for them to do that, and he’s a calm individual in the studio, pushing you gently – and he likes the kind of slightly broken, slightly dirty sound that interests us at the moment.

“His sense of tone is exemplary and he understands songwriters and songwriting, with more lyrical content on this album, as that’s the way we’ve gone. Kris is writing many more lyrics than he used to, and we’re trying to work out how to bring them into our world.”

York Press:

"Lau. Cool band. Don’t sound like anybody else,” says John Parish, producer of next February's new album, Midnight And Closedown

Parish was the ideal guiding hand. “John was great at that, because part of the producer’s role is to help a band meld its skills, and it’s invaluable to have someone from outside so knowledgeable doing that,” says Martin. “We haven’t seen him since we spent a week recording the album, and he spent a week producing it – he was a great conversationalist on various topics, by the way – but there’s no Bristol date so we’ve sent him a bottle of whisky as a thank-you and he seems to be happy with that!”

What does Martin make of their publicist’s suggestions that Lau 2018 are moving “closer to late-period Beatles”? “I would say, first of all, that any band who would lay claim to comparisons with The Beatles was either brave or foolhardy, so that one’s down to our press office, but like all musicians we’re inspired by The Beatles, and anyone who says they aren’t are just trying to be cool!

“There’s something about hearing ideas as they’re being discovered, as they weren’t weighed down with baggage of what others had done, and those techniques are still exciting for us,” he says.

Tehnically, the closest Lau came to later-days Beatles was a decade ago: "We did a version of Dear Prudence for Mojo magazine's 'White Album' covers CD," recalls Martin.

Anyway, moving on, tomorrow's show will combine "a kind of greatest hits set" in the first half with the new album being played in its entirety in the second. "I know as a punter that I want to hear the songs I know and love; that's why you go to a gig, so it feels to us like 'let's do those songs first and when everyone has had a pint in the interval, let's bring on the new album'."

Usually, Lau break in new material on the road before entering the recording studio, but not so this time. "If we'd had infinite time, it would have been great to do that; I would always rather have played the material live first, but because the last tour was a retrospective of ten years of Lau, it didn't make sense to do any new songs in those shows, and as we'd allocated time to record the album, we did that," says Martin.

Do not read too much into the album title, Midnight And Closedown, taken from Irish writer Seamus Heaney's work The Shipping Forecast. It might suggest this could be Lau's swansong, but Martin is quick to counter such thoughts. "It's not our farewell. We didn't encourage that interpretation," he says. "We went through various titles and settled on that one, but no, I can confirm we are not finishing. This is not goodnight."

Lau play Pocklington Arts Centre, tomorrow (December 4), 8pm, sold out; Leeds City Varieties, February 26.